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A new recipe for success for the Delta Islanders?

Islanders looking to turn things around this season
Delta Junior A Islanders assistant coaches Curtis Hodgson and Jordan McBride address the players before the start of another recent spirited practice at the Ladner Outdoor Lacrosse Box. Ian Jacques Photo

A new general manager. New assistant coaches. New philosophies. Will it all translate into a new recipe for success for the Delta Islanders?

Logan Schuss is confident it will.

Schuss, who was named the new GM late last year, has assembled an experienced group of coaches to help turn around the direction of the organization.

Kyle Goundary is back as head coach. He is also currently an assistant coach in the National Lacrosse League (NLL) for the Panther City Lacrosse Club.

Offense coach is Jordan McBride, who is retired from the NLL and a Western Lacrosse Association star, while defence coach is Curtis Hodgson, a retired NLL pro and NLL champion. He is also the former Vancouver Warriors coach.

“I think my direction moving forward with the Delta Junior Islanders is that I want to see us in the top three of the teams in B.C.,” said Schuss. “Victoria and Coquitlam predominantly are the number one and two seeds usually in the junior ranks, but I want to get Delta back up there and to do that we had to reinvent what we are all about in Delta.

“I think Kyle does a great job as head coach, but he needed some more support through the assistants, and I think working and coaching by committee is important. It works at the NLL level – the pro level and I think it can really work at the junior level. It’s good to have coaches who have been there and have played at the highest level.”

At the entry draft in Langley in January, Schuss selected seven players including: Jett Burns from Maple Ridge, Kenyan Whitney from Richmond, Kayden McIntosh from Maple Ridge, Ty Bikic from Maple Ridge, Colby Quilay from Richmond, Keihin Blackson from Mission, and Tatain Hand from Maple Ridge.

Thanks to the outdoor lacrosse box in Ladner, players have been coming together for practices since January. That enthusiasm and ‘buy-in’ to put in the work will be another key for the Islanders, said Schuss.

“The buy-in is huge. Adding the coaching staff was the first priority, and then drafting players who see the vision that we are going for,” he said. “We drafted a couple of key components that will be big for us. Jett is a first-year player and a goalie. He is a big kid, fills the net and has looked great in practice. He is going to be a big part of our future. I’m super excited and he is excited as are all the guys. Guys want to be here and want to be a part of turning this around. It’s easy to join a team when they are number one or two in the league, but these kids came in and were hungry to join a team that is near the bottom and want to be the reason when we get to the top.”

The Junior A Islanders open their B.C. Junior Lacrosse League regular season on Saturday May 11 at the Ladner Leisure Centre at 7 p.m. against the New West Salmonbellies. Then host the Nanaimo Timbermen the following afternoon at 2 p.m.